The Hidden Costs Of ‘affordable’ Health Insurance Plans

(Out-of-pocket maximums for some employer-based health insurance plans won’t start until 2015.) Determining your potential out-of-pocket expenses can be tricky because “the language of cost sharing – deductible, copayment, coinsurance – can be confusing,” said Susan Pisano, spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans. “But taking the time to calculate these costs is worthwhile.” The deductible is the sum you must pay up front for health care services before your policy’s coverage kicks in. For example, a $1,000 deductible means you’ll need to spend $1,000 before the plan starts paying for covered services. You are entitled to preventive care — such as annual checkups, immunizations, mammograms, colonoscopy and blood pressure screenings – at no additional cost whether or not you have met the deductible . Ellen Pryga, director of policy at the American Hospital Association, advises consumers to consider their money management style when deciding between a plan that has a low premium (but high deductible) or a slightly higher premium (but lower deductible). “Some people have no trouble establishing a savings account to cover the deductible. For other people, savings is more difficult. They may be better off paying the slightly higher premium so they aren’t tempted to touch that savings account for other reasons.” The copayment is the flat fee ($20, for example) you pay each time you access care, such as visiting the doctor. “Those little things can add up depending on how you use services,” said Pisano. For instance, copayments can multiply quickly if you take several medications prescribed by various specialists who all require a visit to the doctor’s office to renew a prescription. Coinsurance refers to the percentage of the cost of a covered health care service that you must pay.


High Volume Hampers Health Insurance Launch

1, 2013. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images The launch of the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces may not have been hampered by the government shutdown , but a surge of Web traffic is leading to technical glitches on federal and state pages. Viewers attempting to start the process at get a “please wait” message if they are from one of the 36 states that opted not to run their own exchanges. “We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we’re working to make your experience here better,” the site message reads. “Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience!” Read about 10 things you need to know about the health insurance exchanges today. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned Monday that “glitches” would be inevitable today, comparing it to Apple’s latest software upgrade. “No one is calling on Apple to not sell devices for a year, or to get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure,” Sebelius said, referring to a move by Republicans in the House to postpone the implementation of Obamacare by a year. “Everybody just assumes, ‘Well, there’s a problem, they’ll fix it, we’ll move on.'” The New York State of Health page, which launched today to handle exchanges, had a similar message, explaining that 2 million people visited the site within the first two hours of launch, causing bottlenecks. “We encourage users who are unable to log in to come back to the site later when these issues will be resolved,” a message at the top of the site said. Health exchange websites in Vermont and Connecticut were slow to load, with error messages eventually appearing that the sites were not available.

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How School Segregation Impacts Long-Term Health, And More Health News This Week

| Getty Get Black Voices Newsletters: Segregation , Physical Fitness , Black Voices Life , School Desegregation , Black Voices News The long view of racial segregation in America paints a relatively gloomy picture of the impact social exclusion has had on black health. A new study by researchers at the University Of Iowa tells a different story, indicating that baby boomers who attended segregated schools during first to twelfth grade may actually have better physical performance and a great sense of control over various aspects of their lives down the road than those who went to desegregated schools. With recent reports showing that African-American students are more isolated than they were 40 years ago , the findings bear significant weight for the millennial generation as well. Check out what the University of Iowa researchers say the connection is between childhood school segregation hysical performance in adulthood, plus more notes on the black health chart this week. Loading Slideshow Childhood School Segregation Associated With Greater Physical Performance In Adulthood In a study of 582 men and women participating in the ongoing African American Health cohort, researchers examined the relationship between attending segregated schools during ones 1st-to-12th grade education and ones current sense of control and physical performance. What they found: Attending segregated schools for at least half of ones 1st-to-12th grade education was significantly associated with higher scores on the sense of control and, in turn, better systolic blood pressure, grip strength, peak expiratory flow, chair stands and balance tests. “Childhood school desegregation was adversely associated with the sense of control of African Americans in later life, and this reduced sense of control appears, in part, to account for their poorer physical performance,” the study authors wrote. And while the mechanism through which childhood school segregation improved the sense of control in later life for this group has not been identified, the researchers speculate that greater exposure to racial solidarity, same-race students as peer role models and same-race teachers and principals as authority role models may have something to do with it. “The reduced likelihood of exposure to race-based discrimination or antagonism during their formative early lives, and greater exposure to encouragement and support for academic and life success,” could also be at play, the authors concluded. Fibroids Found To Be Different For African Americans African-American women are three times more likely to get fibroids than other women, and a new study shows that there may be differences in the symptoms associated with them as well. In a survey of 841 women between the ages of 25 and 59, researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota found that African-American women were twice as likely as the white women to experience abdominal bloating, pressure and protrusion; three times more likely to have anemia (low iron in the blood); 51 percent more likely to have a heavy or overly-long menstrual cycle; 80 percent more likely to experience bad menstrual cramps; 67 percent more likely to have passage clots during their period and 79 percent more likely to experience abdominal tightness or cramping. “Overall, the African-American women were 74 percent more likely to have their daily social activities affected by uterine fibroids,” the study authors noted, adding that because both symptoms and diagnosis of uterine fibroids was self-reported, there may be some limitations to their findings.

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